I’m writing this during the coronavirus pandemic, when many businesses are still closed even as some states are reopening. We think businesses and professional practices are going to see one of these things in the future:
- They’ll reopen their doors and pick up more or less where they left off.
- They’ll offer (or continue to offer) something different from what they had before.
- They won’t reopen.
If your plan is not to reopen, you can close down your website. Otherwise, it’s a good time to use your website to make your reopening more successful.
Your website can help
- Maintain strong relationships with your clients and customers. By providing useful resources and interesting information, you continue to give value and keep communication going. Don’t skip social media — and be sure to send your contacts back to your website.
- Explain what’s different. Are you doing downloads instead of physical products or streaming classes instead of physical meetings? Do you meet people at the curb or have your hours changed? Your visitors will appreciate getting current information.
- Offer what’s new. Shifting to a new normal can involve substitutions or reductions, but it can also include creative new approaches to your goods and services. If you’ve added something new and exciting, present it that way.
- Reassure customers. Sure, we see a lot of fairly repetitive statements about what companies are doing to be responsible in the pandemic, but some of your customers want to be sure that you are in fact being responsible. Share that information.
- Answer questions. People are looking online for information. Show generosity by answering those questions and you can build trust that will help your reopening go smoothly.
- Defuse anger with information. It’s strange to see people getting angry as businesses reopen, but it is happening. Go ahead and tell people ahead of time that they will have to wait 5-10 minutes for their Telehealth visit to begin, or that you will be requiring face masks, or that they will need to wait in their car instead of the waiting room. They will be able to adjust before they arrive.
- Update everything. Take the opportunity to freshen up your website and make sure all the information is accurate. We’ve been doing an experiment that suggests that even minor updates can improve rankings. Neil Patel recently reported that the latest Google algorithm update favors frequently-updated web pages. So while you’re in there, make sure all your content is current.
- Think toward the future. What you do today will cause what you see in your business 90 days from now. It’s hard to predict the future at the moment, but try to imagine what people will need most 90 days from now. What will you be willing to do, and what will you want your web visitors to do? Get your calls to action in place.
Don’t plan to fail
Have you decided that you won’t reopen? If not, don’t behave as though you don’t plan to reopen. Keep your website current, take the opportunity to update your design, and make sure your website looks legit. Add fresh content and keep lines of communication open. You’ll thank yourself 90 days from now.